Vegan in Athens, Greece @Avocado

In the land of souvlaki, gyros, and BBQ-ed meat, I hadn’t expected to be able to eat anything. At the airport I was contemplating buying the entirety of WH Smith’s stock of hummus.

But 24 hours later I’m demolishing the largest burger I’ve ever eaten, and it’s totally vegan. Sam’s making his way through a cauldron of Goan soup: “This is perfect for this weather- it’s so warming.”

Contrary to popular belief, Greece is cold. I hadn’t expected Athens in March to be colder than London, and certainly not as raining,

So finding this gem of a cafe on Happy Cow (my vegan restaurant bible) was a delightful surprise. There’s enough food to sit and plough our way through for a good hour while the drizzle stops, and the menu is as extensive as any vegan restaurant in London.

I ordered the avocado burger without cheese (it’s a veggie restaurant) and out came a mountain of fresh red onion, an inch thick lentil burger, a cm of avocado, a fair mound of potato chippings, chipotle sauce, lettuce and tomatoes. I’m in heaven.

The fresh orange juice is just as good as expected from a city where oranges grow on trees along the pavements.

Service is great and the staff speak perfect English. The ambience is very much bare wood and chilled, Bob Marley style music. But it’s the menu, the vegan chocolate tart, the quiche, the salads, and the amazing sound smoothies – cocoa and almond milk anyone – that would have me back in a shot.

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Jet lag cure: spicy lentil, ginger and kale soup

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I’ve suffered from jet lag more than I’d care to admit this week, mostly because I’ve been a dumbass and rather than overriding it, have embraced it. But embraced it not in a good way. Yes, I’ve been staying up until 5am and not getting up until 11. I think I even climbed, sighing, out of bed and filled in two job applications. Such is the life of a vegan postgraduate journalism student. But I knew I had to put an end to this. So yesterday I went for a swim in the mahoosive, cold, outdoor pool next to my gym, took a run on the treadmill, dunked in the hot spa pool, cycled back, and cooked myself some warming, healing soup. 

Soup soothes frayed nerves, and this one soothes better than others. Fact. So here’s the recipe.

 

Ingredients

3 cloves garlic

A teaspoon of mustard seeds (not essential)

A teaspoon (or two depending on how smokey you want it) of smoked paprika

1 thumbfull of ginger

A white onion, finely chopped

One carrot, finely sliced

One red, medium chili, finely sliced

A hefty squirt of tomato puree

A shake of cumin, coriander and chill powder

A pint and a half of water

A shake of bouillon powder

 

Method

Fry the garlic, ginger, chili and mustardseeds in a teaspoon of oil. Add the chopped onion and cook until soft. (10 minutes should do).

Add the rest of the dried spices and stock, then add the water and puree.

Add the lentils. 

Cook until lentils are soft (about 20 minutes), then add the kale. Stir and cook for a further five minutes. 

And there you have your easy, warming soup.